Introduction to the scanned version.

Plant monographs extracted from The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.

Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, and of the History of Medicine in the Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, Ohio; Ex-President and Member of the National Eclectic Medical Association; Ex-President and Member of the Ohio State Eclectic Medical Association, Etc.

Cincinnati, Ohio
John K. Scudder

Scanned version copyright © 2001–2019 Michael Moore. Used with permission.
This is the .html version. You'll find the .pdf version on Michael's site.

NOTE: This is one of several important Eclectic medical publications dating from the 1920s that represented the last, articulate, but in the end, futile attempt to stem the tide of Standard Practice Medicine, the antithesis of the model of the rural primary care "vitalist" physician that was the basis for the Eclectic Curriculum.

Founded during the 1840s as part of an immense populist anti-medical movement in North America, the American School of Medicine ("Eclectics" as they came to be known) trained physicians in a dozen or so privately funded medical schools, principally located in the midwest. The movement "peaked" in the 1880s and 1890s, and by WWI, states and provinces were adopting curriculum requirements that followed those articulated by the AMA, which effectively forced the Eclectic Medical Schools to either adopt the new model or fold...the last one closed in Cincinnati in 1939.

Throughout these monographs are references to "Specific Medicines". In some respects Specific Medicines are the single reason that Eclecticism survived so long in the face of "Organized Medicine" and were still being manufactured for the surviving Eclectic M.D.s as late as the early 1960s. Using up to eight organic solvents and the Lloyd Extractor, Specific Medicines represented the strongest possible concentration of the bioactive aspects of botanicals that would stay in a colloidal solution.

Perfected over four decades by John Uri Lloyd, each Specific Medicine was prepared according to the nature of that specific plant. You cannot translate a Specific Medicine into "tincture" or "fluidextract". The latter are generic or standard strengths applied across the board to all botanicals. A Specific Medicine represented the greatest strength, without degradation, for a particular plant, using anywhere from several to all of the solvents to achieve this. The Eclectic physician was trained to use botanicals in an oftentimes rural setting, and these medicines had to resist breakdown in the deepest winter and the hottest summer. Since they needed to contain even the most ephemeral constituents of a plant remedy, Lloyd approached each plant separately.

The amazing quality of these preparations assuredly maintained the Eclectic Movement long after others had faded. Lloyd's recipes were Patent Medicines, were not "official", and when relatives finally closed down the Lloyd Brother's Pharmacy in Cincinnati, these formulae disappeared. One of the hottest topics for many years amongst professional herbalists in North America and Europe has been "So who has the Lloyd Formulas, already?" Since we cannot access them, the best approach is the use of well made tinctures, capsules or tea. I might suggest the preparations and doses recommended in my Herbal Materia Medica 5.0 as a starting many respects I am perhaps a "Neo-Eclectic" at heart, and have tended to follow the later Eclectics in my approach to plants and dosages.

-- Michael Moore.

Thank you, Michael, for OCR'ing these files! (OCR = optical character recognition = render scanned pages as text.)

Michael sent me the spellchecked text to put online as .html files; you'll find OCR'd .pdf files on his site. He likes all in one, I like one file per plant, preferably crosslinked to similar files across this site. Like he said, "...this way everybody is happy." Choose whichever you like better.

He also says: "I have retained the original pharmaceutical latin names (Cimicifuga racemosa or Black Cohosh was treated as 'Macrotys', as an example), but otherwise I have updated botanical names within the monographs. I have also translated the apothecary measurements into more understandable ones (although I have retained 'drachm'). Remember, a drachm is 1/8 of an ounce, a fluidrachm 1/8 of a fluidounce. All botanical remedies are included (except Ergot), as well as all substances normally used in manufacturing herb-based products. I have excluded most alkaloids, salts, chemicals, injected compounds and other products well-outside of the 'herb' realm."

A facsimile reprint of the original is available from Eclectic Medical Publications.

As always, you need to know your plants before you use information this old.


The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.